Where Memphis’ mayoral candidates stand on education issues

A red sign reads "Vote Here" with a tan brick wall in the background.
Early voting begins Friday, Sept. 15, in Memphis’ Oct. 5 mayoral election. Seventeen candidates are vying for the post. (Grace Cary / Getty Images)

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The mayor of Memphis doesn’t have a lot of say in how Memphis-Shelby County Schools operates. But candidates running for the position in the Oct. 5 election do have a lot to say about how the city and the district can cooperate to improve outcomes for the city’s students.

Some are calling for the city to take on a direct role in funding the district. Others want to see the city expand its contribution to early childhood education programs as a way to set students up for success. 

Seventeen candidates are vying for the post, and early voting begins Friday.

Chalkbeat sent a questionnaire to all 17 candidates asking them, among other things, whether they’d support new funding to MSCS, and whether they would make any changes to universal preschool programming. We also asked how they planned to alleviate many of the barriers students face outside of school.

Fourteen of them responded (Carnita Atwater, Jennings Bernard, and Justina Ragland did not), and we’re sharing their responses in this voter guide. Other than formatting adjustments to improve readability, these responses have not been edited by Chalkbeat.

Click on a candidate’s name to read their responses to each question. To compare candidate responses to a specific question, click on that question. 

Check your voter registration status here

Find a sample ballot and polling locations here by entering your name or address. 

Laura Testino covers Memphis-Shelby County Schools for Chalkbeat Tennessee. Reach Laura at LTestino@chalkbeat.org.

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